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Friday, June 01, 2007

A Little Rain on Thursday Matt Rubinstein

I've just closed the book on the last page of A Little Rain on Thursday by Matt Rubenstein and am torn. Although I can appreciate the powerful imagery evoked by Rubinstein’s exceptional turn of phrase, I was neither captured by the plot nor the pace at which the story moved.

In a nutshell, Jack and Beth have inherited an old deconsecrated church after her father died and have just moved in when a massive hailstorm destroys the roof which caves in and, in turn, destroys the church floor. Underneath they find a trapdoor to an underground crypt and inside the crypt is an ancient manuscript. Jack happens to work as a translator and is fascinated by the manuscript which is written in an unfamiliar arcane-looking language. The manuscript and the secret the mysterious text might contain gradually takes over his life to the exclusion of everyone and everything around him, not to mention the development of an insidious paranoia.

The story begins strongly but becomes increasingly vague and confused, perhaps mirroring Jack's state of mind but I found there were times where I was seriously having trouble working out what was going on. The result is a loss of momentum midway through the book and it never really recovers as far as I was concerned.

During Jack’s hunt, though, he suffers a concussion which Rubinstein handles using a uniquely effective, yet very simple technique:

He tried to open his eyes, but everything was red and black and seemed to be meltign as he wachted adn hx --
And he tried again, he struggled with the drak and tried his best to saty where he wqs but great fogners wr pull he into the eartk soft xentel stoft --
Af gim zhe mendi takh gim ozh shesti ukhotal as ezim --
He raised his head to see a plume of black smoke pouring from the forensics centre, its broken windows...Time seemed to be running strangely.

I thought this was so much more effective than the usual "Jack felt consciousness slowly returning..." way that waking from a concussive force is usually handled.

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